Vancouver lives up to the hype. The city's layout is topographically interesting, and its reflective architecture is aesthetically pleasing. Public spaces are bountiful and inviting, be it the urban plazas, green parks, or sandy beaches. People are diverse, and this difference appears to be celebrated based on my brief encounter with the city. There are radio stations in (at least) English, Hindi, and French, through which I became acquainted with the Quebec-based Bernard Adamus. The food is delicious, and the restaurants are tasteful. On a clear day, Vancouver is near perfection, a unique combination of Singapore and San Francisco, Southern California and Vermont according to Douglas Coupland's City of Glass. Further examination and discussion would reveal many issues, most apparently the glaring inequality between the Downtown Eastside and Gastown. And then there are the questions for any urban space involved in global migration, as raised so beautifully and thoughtfully by Reena Saini Kallat's Woven Chronicle at the Vancouver Art Gallery's Offsite. After my superficial exploration, however, I can't rave enough about Vancouver.
If you're interested in making the quick trip north from Seattle, here are my initial recommendations:
- Stop at 49th Parallel in SoMa for Coffee and Doughnuts
- Sit on a Drift Log at Spanish Banks Beach
- Walk along the Promenade at English Bay Beach
- Explore the Perimeter of Stanley Park on Bicycle
- Grab a Late Brunch from Medina Cafe in Yaletown
- Dérive through Downtown and Gastown
- Enjoy Dinner and Drinks at the Diamond above Maple Tree Square
As for a map, I'll be creating a panoramic illustration of the view from Spanish Banks Beach; check back in January for an update. I've included two pictures from the beach below; I added the rest to Flickr.